Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

Empire Creek Provisions, nestled in the heart of Downtown Downieville, is excited to introduce Therese Hopfinger as the newest addition to its ownership team. Hailing from the Sierra County community of Pike, CA, Therese brings with her a wealth of culinary expertise and a passion for community building.

Therese’s journey to Downieville was a deliberate one. Faced with limited work options in her area, she was drawn to the quaint charm and scenic beauty of Downieville over larger neighboring towns like Nevada City and Grass Valley. The vibrant atmosphere, picturesque river, and welcoming environment sealed the deal for Therese, making Downieville the perfect backdrop for her culinary aspirations.

Her path to Empire Creek Provisions began 15 months ago when she learned of an open position at Cold Rush Café, one of the restaurants under the Empire Creek Provisions umbrella. Through a mutual friend working for the company at the time, Therese found her way to the big yellow building at 200 Main Street, where she poured her heart and soul into her work. Over time, she naturally gravitated towards a leadership role, driven by a desire to raise the bar and bring her expertise in cooking and customer service to the forefront.

It was a mutual feeling of admiration and respect between Therese and the owners of Empire Creek Provisions that led to her joining the ownership team. With great joy, Empire Creek Provisions welcomes Therese as a partner, recognizing her dedication, creativity, and genuine connection to the community.

In a recent interview, Therese shared her thoughts on becoming one of Sierra County’s newest business owners and her vision for the future of Empire Creek Provisions:

What inspired you to join Empire Creek Provisions as a partner?

Therese expressed her eagerness to learn and grow within the Empire Creek Provisions family, viewing it as a “playground for trying new recipes and interacting with people from all walks of life” as she put it. She sees Empire Creek Provisions as being on the cusp of thriving, and in a community with endless possibilities, and she’s excited to contribute to its culinary landscape.

 Tell us about your background in the culinary industry and how it has prepared you for this role.

Growing up with a family deeply involved in the kitchen, Therese developed a natural affinity for cooking and baking. “I grew up with a mom and grandmother active in the kitchen. They were always pulling me in to cook and bake. I just thought everyone cooked” commented Therese. Her professional journey began as a cheese monger in the Pike Place market, where she honed her skills in customer service and food preparation. “Working at Pike Place Market, amidst the whirlwind of cruise ship crowds, taught me invaluable lessons in teamwork and managing high-pressure situations. It honed my ability to thrive under pressure and collaborate effectively with a team.” With experience in various quick-service restaurants and bars, Therese brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for creating memorable dining experiences.

What strengths and skills do you bring to the table that you believe will contribute to the success of Empire Creek Provisions?

“For me, it is all about the customer experience. I want to bring my skills in catering and passion for smoked meats and BBQ. I have a good heart and a loving nature, and I think that comes out in the food I make.”

Therese’s customer-centric approach, coupled with her fast-learning abilities and passion for smoked meats and BBQ, make her an asset to the team. Her infectious laugh, solution-oriented mindset, and genuine concern for others set her apart, creating a welcoming atmosphere for both staff and customers alike.

What are three things you’re the proudest of?

“Undoubtedly, my ability to adapt and grow has been instrumental in navigating through challenging periods. Coupled with my versatility across various domains including crafts, culinary arts, and healing practices, I’ve found resilience and fulfillment. Plus, I’m over the moon to share my life with my sweetheart of a decade, Ian. And guess what? We’re tying the knot right here in Downieville come fall!”

What is your vision for the future of the establishment under your leadership?

“I’m eager to continue learning and exploring new possibilities. Being in an ownership role at ECP provides me with a platform to experiment with exciting recipes and engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds. I welcome the opportunity to immerse myself in various roles, whether it’s crafting delicious dishes, perfecting our coffee offerings, or orchestrating live music events during the summers at Boomtown Backyard.”

Therese also mentions that she envisions a future where Cold Rush Café offers a more diverse and consistent menu, catering to locals and visitors alike. She plans to revamp the Boomtown Lounge & Backyard, transitioning to a family BBQ restaurant theme with occasional world-inspired offerings. Additionally, she aims to collaborate with local producers and artisans to source high-quality ingredients for the Empire Creek Provisions Market, offering a wider range of fresh and grab-and-go foods. She aims to join forces with the other owners to enable EBT acceptance, recognizing the limited options for locals in Sierra County to access EBT.

 How do you plan to enhance the dining experience for customers, both in terms of food quality and service?

By investing in team training and fostering a culture of genuine care and concern, she hopes to elevate the dining experience. “I plan to focus on flavor enhancements and consistency while continuously exploring new offerings based on community feedback.”

In what ways do you envision collaborating with local producers and artisans to source ingredients and products for our grocery store?

“I have already started reaching out to contacts who are connected to the farmers close to Downieville. I want to strengthen ties within the local community while offering customers a unique and sustainable shopping experience.”

How do you plan to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for both regular customers and newcomers?

Therese’s plans include continuing to host community events, such as her community art classes and special performances from up-and-coming musicians and top name artists. She, like the owners she’s joining, loves to bring people together. By welcoming guests with gratitude, she aims to create a space where everyone feels valued and embraced. “I find great fulfillment in organizing special events that bring people together. From the bottom of my heart, I am deeply grateful to be a part of this community and Empire Creek Provisions. It has truly become my second family.”

Empire Creek Provisions is thrilled to have Therese Hopfinger on board as a partner, and we look forward to the exciting journey ahead. Join us in welcoming Therese to the Empire Creek Provisions family!